Moving two dogs and a cat across country in a Mini Cooper
June 18, 2008 1:33 PM   Subscribe

I need some creative ideas for getting myself, my husband, two 50-pound dogs and a cat from Miami FL to Seattle WA in a 2007 Mini Cooper.

My husband and I are moving from Miami FL to Seattle WA at the end of August. We are going to use one of those "you pack it, we drive it" services to move our stuff but the problem is moving our pets. I won't put them on a plane. My dogs are way too freaky and would probably die of anxiety in route. We have decided to drive our pets to Seattle.

I have a 2007 Mini Cooper. My husband has a '95 Pickup without a camper, not to mention it seems to leak a bit of oil. We looked into shipping our cars and renting something bigger to make the drive but it adds over $3000 to the cost of the move and we just can't afford that. We have decided to drive the Mini. We got racks and a box for the top of the car to carry our stuff and with the back seats down, there is enough room for our two dogs to stand up and turn around. We also have a cat. She gets along fine with the dogs so the lack of space does not cause a problem in that respect. My question is, where do I put a litter box for the cat? There is no room for it behind the front seats with the back seats down. There really isn't enough room to put it in the back with the dogs, not to mention it would provide the opportunity for doggie snacks. I really do not want to put it in the passenger floor board because that would be uncomfortable for the passenger and really just gross. Does anyone have any creative ideas or are we just screwed?

I've thought of just not having one in the car but allowing her access to one each time we stop. I just don't think she will get the clue that she needs to use it right then.
posted by little miss s to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Put the cat's litter box inside a pet crate ... perhaps bungee it into position so that the dogs don't have direct access to the door. And give yourself plenty of time for the trip ... sounds like it will be fun!
posted by gyusan at 1:46 PM on June 18, 2008

I know it's a pretty small car, but if you have any room at all in the back maybe you could find a small covered litter box? That way, the dogs wouldn't be able to get into it. There'd even be room enough on top to put a cat bed or something similar.

Sounds like a very small space for so many of you. Good luck & safe journeys!
posted by jammy at 1:51 PM on June 18, 2008

I agree with gyusan about putting the litterbox inside a pet crate. It doesn't have to be your regular full-size litterbox, you can just put some litter in a disposable aluminum baking dish and empty it out at each stop.

Make sure you give the dogs some chewy toys to keep them busy, and make sure to make frequent stops for them to get out and stretch their legs.

Good luck!
posted by amyms at 1:51 PM on June 18, 2008

Get tranquilizers for the cat at least. Makes them dopey and sleepy, but doesn't completely knock them out. Get it from a vet. Well worth it.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 2:12 PM on June 18, 2008

Best answer: My ex-huband and I put a closed camper shell on his oil-leaking old pickup and he drove it with the cat in back with stretchy cargo nets, secured litter box and water and food dishes, and a little valium (for kitty only), while I drove myself and our wee baby in my small car when we moved from Tacoma to Atlanta.

It'd cost a lot less than $3000 to put a used camper shell on your hubby's pickup and check the oil every time you stop for gas, and then nobody's crowded and you don't have to pay anyone to transport his truck. Just a thought. I can't imagine making that trip with that many bodies packed in a Mini.
posted by notashroom at 2:17 PM on June 18, 2008

Response by poster: Hmmm....I had not thought of that notashroom. I was hesitant to take my husband's truck because I did not want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere with 2 dogs, a cat and a broken down truck. With the Mini as a backup, that would ease my mind. It would require more driving for us since we can't share it but it may be worth it.

gyusan, jammy and amyms -- I'm not sure even a small box would fit back there. I am going to go to the pet supermarket this week and see what my options are. If I can find something, I will take a test drive with all passengers on board. I may just have to ditch this whole idea and go with notashroom's suggestion.

Thanks all!
posted by little miss s at 2:37 PM on June 18, 2008

you might consider renting a slightly larger vehicle (think mid-size) to drive the dogs down. such a long drive in a mini sounds rather harsh on them, even if they are familiar and comfortable around the cat, which probably could use a little space itself from time to time. yes, it's a hassle that one person has to drive back and pick up the less reliable pickup but unless he is willing to use that to transport the cat separately I see this as the cheapest option that will preserve your and your pets sanity.
posted by krautland at 2:38 PM on June 18, 2008

Response by poster: Oh, and my kitty has made this same trip with us twice before. She does great without any meds. Thanks for the suggestion though.
posted by little miss s at 2:38 PM on June 18, 2008

Best answer: I moved with my cat (in the cab of a U-Haul truck) from Texas to Georgia, and she didn't eat or use the litter box the whole time.

So what I'm thinking is, bring along a litter box, but try offering it to her at intervals. Every X number of hours, get it out of a closed container (like, put the litter box in another box with a lid) and leave her in the car with it while you go walk the dogs. If she's normally good about using the box, she won't want to pee or poop in the car, outside of the box.

Side story: my cat isn't a good traveler, and during this trip she cowered under the seats for about half the trip. It turned out that there was sticky candy and a pile of broken (tempered) glass under the seat, and when I finally dragged her out when we were somewhere in Florida she was plastered with sticky glass. Plus we didn't know how hot it was under there, so her fur was absolutely pouring off of her, if fur can do that. She was panting, dehydrated, covered in glass, and hadn't eaten, drank, or used the litter box for the entire trip. I thought she might die before we got to Georgia. So we stuffed pillows under the seats so she couldn't get under there again, and she spent the last part of the trip cooling off and sleeping. When we got to Georgia we were able to cut out most of the glass, and she took care of the rest and returned to her normal bodily functions/needs.
posted by iguanapolitico at 3:16 PM on June 18, 2008

I've thought of just not having one in the car but allowing her access to one each time we stop. I just don't think she will get the clue that she needs to use it right then.

I'm an idiot and didn't see the last sentence. I swear I thought I read the whole post ... I just thought the last sentence was part of the "posted by" line.

At least I got to tell my sticky kitty story.
posted by iguanapolitico at 3:18 PM on June 18, 2008

Response by poster: Actually iguanapolitico, you made a good suggestion. I was imagining having my kitty on a leash at the rest stop with a litter box on the ground. Putting it in the car and letting her have some privacy while I walk the dogs makes me think she might actually use it. Hmmm...all of these suggestions make me think it may not be all that impossible.
posted by little miss s at 3:26 PM on June 18, 2008

There are all kinds of dog safety belts for restraining your dogs in the car as well. (That can keep them out of the litter box.) I have no product recommendations - this link was simply the first one I got from Google.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:12 PM on June 18, 2008

I am just wondering if a covered cake pan ( you know, with the sliding top) might work for a litter box.
posted by what-i-found at 6:08 PM on June 18, 2008

I don't have any advice, except to offer a "welcome to Seattle" in advance, from someone with two cats, a dog, and a Mini Cooper! :)
posted by TochterAusElysium at 6:25 PM on June 18, 2008

Response by poster: what-i-found -- that is a good idea. I'm going to use that if I need to store the litter box in the box on top of the car.

Thanks Tochter! I was in Seattle from 1998-2001. I'm looking forward to getting back.
posted by little miss s at 6:32 PM on June 18, 2008

Seconding the cake pan. I had to take a cat on a flight with 2 connections, 14 hours door-to-door. I used a plastic cake pan with a lid that seals (think tupperware) as a litter box, with silica crystal litter. The cat actually used it twice, when I put it in the carrier with her. The silica absorbs the liquid and odor quickly and dehydrates the solids. Having the lid let me pack the whole thing away into my carry-on bag. Gross, I know, but less gross than a potential pee-soaked cat. I also tried the same on a road trip and it was equally effective. I didn't have 2 big dogs with me though! A safe journey to all of you.
posted by Lossewen at 12:53 AM on June 19, 2008

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